Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Has this ever happened to you?
You find, or hear, of a recipe that sounds so awesome that you want to recreate it. Especially awesome because it has many of the components that you know your sous-chef will love...and you devise a plan to make this special meal to impress him. Ingredients are bought, meat is defrosted and the prep-work starts early in the day. You can feel the excitement of this dish bubbling under your skin all day as you plan...meal time comes, plates are filled, timing (in theory) is executed perfectly and...(drumroll) ho-hum.

Such is my day. I saw recently a show that featured a steak sandwich with a jalapeno pesto and caramelized onions. Sounds amazing. I know!

I am an amateur chef, at best. I have mastered the art of the pasta dish. I'm pretty good when it comes to soups, stews, chilis. I have no problem with ground meats, pork, roasts, or chicken breast. I even have a homemade burger that gets raves. I've pretty much got those things down. But the one thing that I have never mastered, no matter how many times I've steak. I just can't get it. I've tried SO many times...and it always comes out, muh. It's that brown chewie thing in the middle of the sandwich that you can acknowledge as meat, but definitely not the star of the meal, as it is supposed to be. How can I learn to cook steak properly? I go online and look up rubs and marinades and how-to instructions. BBQ'd, Grilled, Pan-fried. muh, huh, blah!

One day, when I have oodles of time (possibly in retirement) I will take a cooking class. Or more than one. I want to be GOOD. I want to move past the casseroles and typical mom-meals to something amazing. Maybe even venture to cook without a recipe. Because cooking is just IN me. The kind of food where you can go to a restaurant and say, I can make this better. I want my kids to experience GOOD food at HOME. "That's a perfectly cooked fish." "Your chicken is so tender!" "This pasta is heavenly!"

"That's the BEST Steak I've Ever Had!" *sigh*

In spite of all this, the pesto was amazing. And I'm certainly happy I found that recipe. For those who are better with steak, here's it is:

Jalapeno Pesto:
1/3 c pine nuts
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch parsley (I actually did more parsley than cilantro, because I prefer it)
10 garlic cloves (yup! Don't worry, it's good)
1 Jalapeno (seeds and a little kick)
1/2 c. REAL parmessan cheese
salt to taste
Juice of one lemon
1/2 c. olive oil (drizzle in as you blend until desired consistency is reached)

Pulse in food processor until creamy. Freezes awesome too, so you can save it for later. It's also a great dip with chips or fajitas. (BTW: it will cause stinky breath and deposits tiny flecks of green pesto in your teeth, so probably not the best idea for a first date.)

Steak Sandwich:
Cook your steak to medium-rare (I won't give any tips here, because I just don't have them)
toast ciabata buns in the oven (about 5 minutes)
rub avocado on one slice of bun
top with provolone, steak and caramelized onions
Spread jalapeno pesto on other side of bun.

Enjoy your sandwich.

Oh, and I burnt my onions that were supposed to be caramelized...seriously!

Wedding Bells

Where have I been? It's been a while since I blogged, anywhere. Mostly because there's been a lot of same-old. I've been revisiting some of the same recipes I've already blogged about, so there was nothing new to say.
Last night, a favorite of my Sous-chefs. And honestly, that drive to find new recipes and cook is always in an effort to impress him. It's how I 'show it'.
This meal is so simple to make and yet so delicious, and he loves

Bruschetta Pasta
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp each: salt, pepper, garlic salt, oregano, parsley, basil

Mix together in the morning and allow to 'marinate' in the fridge all day

Cook your favorite pasta, top with your favorite alfredo sauce and sprinkle bruschetta over top.


I came up with this idea when I was at a family dinner for my brother's wedding. They held it at a restaurant in Calgary and I saw my uncle order some pasta dish that looked similar to this and SO delicious. It made me rethink not ordering an entree. But alas, I decided to forgo the restaurant costs and instead figure out how to make it myself.

Hey, brother, thanks for getting married. It inspired a good recipe! Oh, and gave us an awesome SIL as well.